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Soda ash

Latest News

  • Shihlien Chemical to launch 300,000tpa salt facility in China

    Thursday, 30 March 2017

    Joint-venture SCIJC will begin salt production at its 300,000tpa facilities in Huaian city, Jiangsu province at the end of 2017, pending the approval of drug production licenses granted to the company, the company said at Roskill’s 2017 Salt conference. SCIJC believes the growing demand for kidney dialysis treatments in China could support pharmaceutical salt consumption, a key mineral for medical infusion.

  • India salt production to nearly double by 2025: Dev Salt

    Wednesday, 29 March 2017

    Growing soda ash and chlor-alkali industries in India will support and drive domestic salt production higher, producer Dev Salt told delegates at the Roskill’s 2017 Salt conference.

  • Price Briefing 10-16 March

    Friday, 17 March 2017

    Antimony trioxide spot prices spike; magnesia unchanged but supply to remain tight; China-origin soda ash falls.

  • Glasspex: India glass industry looks to positive future

    Friday, 17 March 2017

    Industry players expect a turnaround "soon" in the glass industry after modest growth was recorded in 2016, a development which could be good for the soda ash industry in the country which has been seeing sluggish demand from the sector.

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Pricing News

  • Price Briefing 10-16 March

    Friday, 17 March 2017

    Antimony trioxide spot prices spike; magnesia unchanged but supply to remain tight; China-origin soda ash falls.

  • Soda ash prices fall as Chinese output rises

    Monday, 13 March 2017

    Increasing supply in China has put pressure on domestic light and dense synthetic soda ash spot prices with some suppliers warning that the market could fall further unless supply is curbed.

  • Price Briefing 24 February – 2 March

    Friday, 03 March 2017

    Environmental controls in China continued to disrupt production for a number of industrial minerals; magnesia prices could rise; antimony trioxide climbed week-on-week; pigments producers announced price hikes for iron oxide.

  • Price Briefing 10-16 February

    Friday, 17 February 2017

    Cristal joins other producers to announce a further price hike in titanium dioxide this week, while spodumene producer sold lithium concentrate for delivery in H1 2017; Chinese rare earths producer announced price increase.

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Features

  • 2016 Year in Review

    Thursday, 15 December 2016

    A round up of the year's main events in major global industrial minerals markets such as lithium, agriminerals, rare earths and titanium dioxide.

  • Talk From The Top: What those at the helm make of the last two years in industrial minerals markets

    Saturday, 21 May 2016

    While the majority of industrial mineral market participants are bracing themselves for another tough year, IM spoke to key industry players about adapting to current conditions and seeking out new markets.

  • Caustic soda: Corrosion or progression?

    Friday, 18 March 2016

    The alumina industry is the largest consumer of caustic soda, but smelter closures across the world are threatening to eat into this market, while regulatory pressures on the chemical’s production are also forcing change in the industry.

  • Producing soda ash from nepheline in Russia

    Wednesday, 24 February 2016

    The production of soda ash as a byproduct of extracting alumina from nepheline ores could be a lucrative, low-waste option for Russian companies, but, as IM Correspondent Vladislav Vorotnikov explains, there are a number of caveats to using the technology, particularly in a commodities market dogged by low prices.

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Market Brief

Soda ash, or sodium carbonate, can be produced either by mining natural sources or manufactured synthetically using salt and limestone.

About half of the soda ash produced in the world is used in the glass industry for the production of flat glass, container glass, fibreglass and other products.

High exposure to glass markets means that soda ash demand is significantly influenced by the fortunes of the construction and automotive industries.

Supply

China is the world’s largest producer of soda ash with an output of about 23m tonnes in 2011. Production in China has expanded rapidly since 2000 driven by surging domestic demand.

While most of China’s output is consumed in domestic markets, producers there have become increasingly established in export markets.

The world’s second largest producer, the US, is also the largest global exporter, but was been hit hard by the global economic downturn in 2008-2012.

The US soda ash industry is centred at the Green River Basin in north-western US state of Wyoming, where it is mined from natural soda ash, or trona. Producers operating in Green River include FMC, Solvay, OCI and Tata Chemicals.

Leading producers 

ANSAC – US producers including FMC, Tata Chemicals and OCI
Ciech – Poland
Eti Soda – Turkey
Nirma – India
Shandong Marine – China
Sisecam/Sida Sanayii – Turkey
Soda Sterlitamak – Russia
Solvay – Belgium/US
Tangshan Sanyou – China
Tata Chemicals – India

Markets

The 10 leading countries, representing 68% of total U.S. soda ash exports were, in decreasing order and percentage of total, Mexico, 16%; Brazil, 12%; Indonesia, 10%; Canada, 5%; Chile, 5%; Japan, 4%; the Republic of South Korea, 4%; South Africa, 4%; Taiwan, 4%; and the Netherlands, 4%.

The most common application for soda ash is in the glass industry, including flat glass and container glass, which accounts for nearly half of the world’s demand. Soda ash reduces the furnace temperature needed to melt the silica sand used in glass manufacturing, reducing energy costs for the producer.

In 2011, world soda ash production was estimated to be 51.3 Mt, which was a 7% increase from that of 2010. Of the 29 countries that produce natural and synthetic soda ash, the United States was the world’s second-ranked producer, accounting for 21% of total world output. 

Only Botswana, China, Ethiopia, Kenya, Turkey, and the United States produce soda ash from natural sources; the remaining 23 nations manufacture soda ash through various chemical processes, primarily the Solvay process. Total world natural soda ash production represented about 26% of combined world soda ash production.

Flat glass uses – which account for about 39% of soda ash demand – include the production of windows, glass doors and windscreens.

About 51% of soda ash is utilised in container glass, which is used bottles, jars and drinkware.

Soda ash is also used as a raw material in a variety of chemical markets including soaps and detergents, sodium triphosphate (used in food preservatives, cleaning products and ceramics), sodium silicates and zeolites, used as adsorbents.

Demand growth for soda ash is expected to be strongest in China, South East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and South America.